An Inclusive Litany


A New York man convicted of five mugging charges sued Arsenio Hall for $250,000, alleging that the comedian's remarks about his prominent ears—the subject of much public interest after his picture was published following his arrest in a subway mugging—subjected him to ridicule.

Antioch College has enacted the following rules for students who want to engage in sex: Anyone who initiates a "sexual activity" must seek verbal consent as he or she moves through each "level of sexual intimacy." Anyone who drinks alcohol or takes drugs is regarded as being incapable of giving consent, and sex with such a partner is statutory date rape. Students are required to attend mandatory workshops at which they learn how to ask for verbal consent. "May I sit down next to you? Is it okay to kiss you? Can I put my arms around you now? Do you mind if I unbutton...?"

The official rules also scrupulously covers group sex scenarios, referring to the "person(s)" and "individual(s)" who must seek consent, or perhaps simultaneously, from whom such consent must be received.

Following Antioch's institution of the guidelines, Newsweek sent a photographer to the campus to take pictures for a story they were doing on "Sexual Correctness." After setting up her equipment outside the campus student center, the photographer began to hear a large group of people screaming. Within minutes she was surrounded by 200 students who called her a "media demon," a "capitalist pig," and yelled for people to throw stones at her head.

[Ed.: As the New Yorker pointed out, Antioch's requirement of constant chatter between sex partners during foreplay aids and abets men who are adept at using persuasive language to seduce women.]

At a 1991 administrative law trial of the Greyhound bus company following a strike, the National Labor Relations Board argued that the company illegally fired workers who abandoned their buses and walked off the job in mid-route. NLRB lawyers argued at length that Greyhound had committed an illegal "unfair labor practice" by firing two strikers who were convicted and sentenced to jail for shooting at a Greyhound bus that was carrying passengers. The NLRB argued that the workers were engaged in union activities during the strike and shooting and thus that their activities were protected under federal labor law and that Greyhound owed them back pay—including the time they spent in jail.


The Washington, D.C., public school system paid Abena Walker $164,739 to create a curriculum featuring "African-centered methodology" for the district's teachers. Training was to take place at the Pan-African University, which, as it turns out, was an unaccredited and unlicensed school whose only academic degree ever awarded, a master's, had gone to Ms. Walker herself—the school's founder.


From a leaflet handed out to potentially immune deficient partygoers at "The Morning Party," an all-day, primarily gay, beach dance party that takes place annually on Fire Island to raise money for the Gay Men's Health Crisis:
Consider the following information when deciding whether or not you're going to take drugs: Ecstasy ... is popular among many today for use while dancing in clubs—or on the beach... When you use it, barriers disappear and you feel less inhibited. Don't let a latex barrier disappear in the process... [Ecstasy] also causes a rise in body temperature, so it's important to stay cool—something difficult to do when you're dancing for hours in the sun... 'K' (ketamine) is a 'dissociative anaesthetic' with 'analgesic' properties. This means that it removes you from reality and yourself—just what you'd expect from a horse tranquilizer... As with Ecstasy, little is known about the long-term effects of 'K' or its interaction with HIV... If you see people who are visibly too high heading toward the surf, keep an eye on them, go with them or bring them to the attention of a GMHC volunteer... If your drinking or drugging is getting you wasted or out of control, you may be destroying your ability to protect yourself and your partner. When you have sex on alcohol or any party drug—Ecstasy, 'K' or cocaine—use a condom.

In an eighth grade multiculturalism assignment at Sidwell Friends in Washington D.C., where Chelsea Clinton attends school, students were asked to write an essay on "Why I Feel Guilty Being White." A sixth-grader who stood up at a school-wide meeting held during the L.A. riots to express his fear of the rioters was later forced to apologize to his black classmates.

Judy Enright, a 54-year-old artist in Brighton, Michigan, displayed a painting of the mythical phoenix—adorned with real feathers. "I love recycling materials," she says. But on the third day of the exhibit, the painting was confiscated by three agents of the Fish and Wildlife Service. "These men came in and, without telling me who they were, said they were taking it," Enright recalls. They said she had used eagle feathers illegally. Enright says she got most of the feathers from her yard and that two were gifts from professors in art school—one came from an old hat and the other from the wing of a female pheasant. "But when you collect feathers for nine years, you have no idea what you have," says Enright.

She was told that her painting had been sent for testing, and soon she was in Detroit defending herself in federal court. At the hearing, a federal agent conceded that the feathers were not from eagles. Still, Enright got a lesson in federal bird-watching: "This is a shock to me. You can't pick up a blue jay feather, or a cardinal feather or a robin feather. It's illegal to pick up one single migratory bird feather in your back yard. That's against a 1918 law."

Both felony and misdemeanor charges against Enright were dropped, but she still can't get her painting back. "If they don't donate it, they can destroy it," she says. But the government insists that the work must be donated to an institution that is both a public museum and research operation. Why? "It's in the law," says Enright. "Can you believe it?"

In North Carolina, the House of Representatives' Agriculture Committee wants to spend $200,000 on a study of hog farm odors.

The request was inspired by efforts of citizens groups to eliminate the unpleasant smells that accompany hog raising, says Walter Cherry, executive director of the North Carolina Pork Producers Council. These efforts led to a bill that might have shut down the $1 billion-a-year industry. "It had 22 pages of government regulations," Cherry recalls. "It was so restrictive that our farmers could not have abided... and been able to operate."

Hence a compromise, which if passed would vault North Carolina State University to the forefront of scientific study of hog odors. "Very little, if any, research has been conducted on [hog] odor," state Rep. Vance Alphin, the Democrat who came up with the proposal, told the Charlotte Observer.

Susan Sontag led an effort to perform Samuel Beckett's absurdist play Waiting for Godot in Sarajevo. At the time, the city was under seige by Serb forces and subject to daily shelling and sniper fire, and the theater itself was a shambles from an earlier mortar attack.


California state senator Tom Hayden, a former SDS leader during the sixties, has announced that his marriage vows to actress Barbara Williams, exchanged before a Buddhist priest, included a pledge to preserve old-growth forests. Williams told the Associated Press, "Marriage is similar to old-growth—you have to be especially loving and vigilant to help it survive and grow."

Hayden's ex-wife Jane Fonda is now married to media mogul Ted Turner, who offered this view on logging: "What we have to do is just go back to quit using chain saws and mechanical equipment and cut the trees and let them cut the trees the old way with a crosscut saw, and by God you would have to have five times or ten times as many people to cut the same number of trees as today. So you would employ more people and also you wouldn't be using, uh, you wouldn't be putting, uh, the stuff into the atmosphere because you wouldn't be running equipment."

[Ed.: On another occasion, Mr. Turner told a forum of foreign journalists that Americans include "some of the dumbest people in the world."]

The Washington City Paper reports that the head of that city's department of finance and revenue, Sharon Morrow, has issued instructions forbidding employees from wearing red high-heeled shoes to work, from using their feet to flush office toilets, from drinking coffee at their desks from cups without lids, and from including sentences in official correspondence to the effect that "If you desire any further information, please call me."

The New York Times, July 18, 1993:
The blues are more commonplace in winter, and behaviorists have found that deprivation of sunlight in the winter months can cause a form of depression labeled season affective disorder.

But more recently a condition that is believed to be caused by prolonged exposure to high heat and humidity has been described by researchers at the clinical psychobiology branch of the National Institute of Mental Health.

The "summer blues" causes sufferers to become lethargic and have difficulty functioning at work and home... The problem is not a result of exposure to too much sunlight on long summer days, said Dr. Normal E. Rosenthal, a researcher at the mental health institute, but probably has to do with irregularities in areas of the brain, most notably the hypothalamus, that help regulate body temperature.

Just as the winter malady can be cleared up with exposure to artificial sunlight, the summer blues can be chased away if individuals cool down by remaining in air-conditioned environments or spending summers in colder climates, he said.

The Washington Post, July 25, 1993:
The University of Utah recruited then-consultant Ira Magaziner, now head of President Clinton's health-care task force, as its "point man" to hawk cold fusion in Washington. He did a fine job, pleading the case for funding by invoking the familiar Japanese threat to American competitiveness and asking for millions "for the sake of my children and all of America's next generation."

In Running with the Devil: Power, Gender and Madness in Heavy Metal Music, Robert Walser, assistant professor of music at Dartmouth College, wrote that "[h]eavy metal is, inevitably, a discourse shaped by patriarchy. Circulating in the contexts of Western capitalist and patriarchal societies, for much of its history metal has been appreciated and supported primarily by a teenage male audience... lacking in social, physical and economic power but besieged by cultural messages promoting such forms of power... as the vital attributes of an obligatory masculinity." But according to Walser, even heavy metal has a softer side. "If in some ways heavy metal replicates the ruthless individualism and violence that capitalism and government policy have naturalized, it also creates communal attachments, enacts collective empowerment, and works to assuage entirely reasonable anxieties."

A women's studies seminar at Swarthmore College condemned feminist Naomi Wolf's book The Beauty Myth—a sweeping critique of traditional ideals of feminine beauty—because the very act of writing is "exclusionary to women who cannot read."

Pennsylvania House Speaker H. William DeWeese received criticism after it was revealed that he spent more that $3,000 of public money for pens and tote bags emblazoned with his name that were distributed to tourists at the Capitol during DeWeese's first four months serving as speaker. Press Secretary Tim Potts dismissed the criticism, saying "It is frankly remarkable, that you look at a $15 billion enterprise and argue with something people want and enjoy."

The Texas Supreme Court allowed a man to seek visitation and parental rights for a child he conceived with a woman who was—and still is—married to another man. In doing so, the court invalidated a law that said a woman's husband is presumed to be the father of her child. The court rejected the woman and her husband's argument that the Texas Family Code "protects the child from delegitimation," ruling that "the social stigma of illegitimacy has diminished."

When John Gammon was sleeping in his cabin in upstate New York, he was awoken by a black bear. Gammon fired a warning shot to frighten the bear, which was pulling the plywood from the cabin door, but that didn't deter it, so he shot the bear, killing it. The New York Department of Environmental Conservation then charged him with illegally taking a bear during a closed season, with discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a dwelling, and with reckless endangerment, the last two charges both misdemeanors that could land Gammon behind bars.

Federal law enforcement officers fighting the growth of labs in California that manufacture crack or speed are being hampered by environmental consequences of the busts. With every illegal lab that is closed, Department of Justice officers are stuck with the task of disposing of large quantities of benzene (a carcinogen), ether, acids, and other dangerous chemicals. The department allocates $700,000 annually for cleaning up the toxics, but each lab bust results in disposal costs of $7,000 to $10,000. The department has been forced to apply budget funds to cover the growing price tag.


At the University of California at Santa Barbara, 70 students received four credits towards graduation for watching such pornographic films as Deep Throat and Suburban Dykes. "We're trying to understand porn by studying the history of its contents and its stylistic forms," says Prof. Constance Penley, whose class viewed all kinds of pornography: straight, lesbian, feminist and even amateur. Penley, who plans to offer the course again for the winter 1995 term, said she wants to demystify pornography. "I'm trying to get over the misconceptions of what porno films are."

The Washington Post, July 26, 1993:
If there has been a planetwide warming trend over the last decade and a half—a claim repeated so often in recent years that many assume it is an established fact—it ought to have shown up by now in the 15 years of temperature readings taken by a network of Earth-orbiting satellites.

So said James Hansen, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies scientist who alarmed the world in the late 1980s with his assertion that Earth's atmosphere had been warming since the mid-1970s...

Yet no sign of such warming has shown up in the satellite data...

Nonetheless, "if there's a greenhouse warming," Hansen said, "it should be visible in their data. The fact that it isn't tells me there's something wrong with their data."

A $5,000 grant by the National Endowment for the Arts went to a project by David Avalos, Elizabeth Sisco and Louis Hock. Titled "Art Rebate," the art consisted of handing out $10 bills to illegal aliens at day labor camps near San Diego. Each bill was signed by one of the artists, so that the marked money would circulate through the economy and demonstrate that the migrants contribute to the economy through sales taxes, even though they do not pay income tax. Said Hock, "We are sickened by the dominant rhetoric concerning the immigrants—that is, that they are somehow to be blamed for this country's economic problems."

Said one of the artists about the project, it is about "the interaction of physical space with intellectual space and civic space." Said one of the recipients, "People don't usually give us money."

To comply with federal regulations set by the Environmental Protection Agency, the city of Anchorage, Alaska, is required to remove 30 percent of the solid material from their sewage water. But according to Paula Easley, director of public affairs for the city, "our water is so clean it's difficult to remove 30 percent. So we finally allowed our two biggest fish processors to dump their waste in our sewers so we could take it out again. It's ludicrous, but it saved us from building a half-billion-dollar plant."

Use of the passive voice has been attacked [sic], not just because it so often lacks clarity, but because it permits oppressors to hide behind their acts. For example, linguist Julia Penelope Stanley contends that the sentence "Mary was abused as a child" obscures the fact that she was abused by her father. In his essay "Racist Stereotyping in the English Language," Robert Moore points out that the sentence "slaves were brought to America" obscures the role of slave merchants and the consequential destruction of African families and culture. Likewise, the sentence "the continental railroad was built" fails to mention the role of Chinese laborers or the oppression they, too, suffered.

However, others complain that the active voice attaches [sic] "excessive importance to the capacities of a single individual to effect change" (according to a Princeton University pamphlet), and that it champions self-interest over the broader interests of one's community as a whole. New York media critic Josh Ozersky offers as an example of "distasteful" usage the sentence "I do not see this as a sexist text." A more "enlightened" version would be: "It is seen as a sexist text, by some."

Luciano Benetton, an Italian senator and president of the international Benetton clothing chain, has offered Cuban dictator Fidel Castro a job should he tire of running the country. In a letter released to the media, Benetton invited Castro to head an art school for youths worldwide. "Many of us have not forgotten the idealistic vision you offered your country... your hope for a change which inspired generations," he wrote. Benetton told Reuters he plans "a revolutionary kind of school without teachers and books, and what better than having a revolutionary as its head?"

In 1993, Benetton opened several outlets in Havana. Like many such Cuban enterprises, only tourists are allowed to shop there.


Family Life, September/October, 1993:
"We were coming home from lunch with their dad, and the kids pointed out a homeless woman on the street," says Tipper [Gore]. "They wanted to take her home. I explained we couldn't do that, but that each of us could do something." She went on to cofound Families for the Homeless, a nonpartisan partnership of congressional, administration and media families to raise public awareness about homeless people and their needs.

High schooler Tyler Peterson, a Boy's Nation delegate, after meeting Bill Clinton at the White House:
Meeting him, shaking his hand—it was overwhelming. It was better than sex. Of course, I haven't had sex before, but I'm sure this was better.

From the editorial page of The New York Times, June 13, 1993:
The most interesting question is whether, if they could, scientists should resurrect a dinosaur. After all, the nations of the world are scrambling to preserve species before they become extinct. So why not bring them back if they tip into oblivion?

In Jurassic Park, an entrepreneur wants the dinosaurs for an open-air zoo on an island off Central America. Profits aside, who wouldn't drool to see such magnificent creatures, study them up close, gawk in amazement?

But is anyone thinking of the welfare of the dinos? They would be brought back to face an environment far different from the one they dominated for 160 million years—with different air, plants and animal life. Even the fiercest dino could be felled by some tiny virus for which it lacked natural defenses.

And what about human welfare? The film leaves the impression that the monsters trashing the island would be containable with just a little better zoo keeping. But Mr. Crichton's book had a darker ending. When last heard from, the dinosaurs had escaped and were eating their way toward the rain forest; one just knew there would be further trouble.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration in Washington, D.C., announced that it had issued 60 citations and $90,000 in fines for unsafe workplace conditions at the Federal Building in Kansas City, Missouri, which is the regional OSHA office.


Linda Douglass comments on the President's proposed health care plan on the "CBS Evening News," September 1, 1993:
White House officials said today the plan will require almost no new taxes. Most of the funding will come from employers who will be required to pay into a state system.